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Which would you choose to go with - Boss AC-3 + Radial ABY splitter, or a piezo pickup?

So we all know that John Petrucci is an amazing guitarist, and his guitar tone from the 2000's is legendary for a wide array of effects from Lexicon, Eventide, dBX, etc. as well as the unique use of his piezo pickup. However, what we also know is that John Petrucci had to compromise by going cable for a long time until he was able to afford a Shure Axient wireless.

What's really unique about John Petrucci's guitar tone is that he blends the piezo pickup with the DiMarzio's to achieve a unique clean tone that gives the feeling as if two guitarists (one electric, one acoustic) are both playing the same part tight. Because of how I love that concept so much, but didn't want to compromise on my trusty Shure GLXD wireless, I decided to use the combination of the Boss AC-3 and a Radial BigShot ABY splitter to achieve a similar result. Now, one thing to note here, because the Boss AC-3 sounds synthetic on its own, it needs help from a compressor and EQ pedal, which is why I use a Keeley Compressor Plus and an MXR 10-band EQ before the Boss AC-3.

But, let's say that you guys were to try and achieve such similar sound where you're blending both the acoustic and electric sounds together. Let's weigh the pros and cons here:

BOSS AC-3 + RADIAL ABY SPLITTER ROUTE PROS: -Non-intrusive setup. You don't have to worry about modifying your guitar to the point where it renders most wireless systems unusable. -You can tweak the sound to the ideal acoustic sound you like. -Cost-effective. It's easier to use multiple pedals and have the option to go back to a traditional setup than have a guitar that you cannot undo mods on. -Cross-compatible across all electric guitars. You can use almost any guitar you want, you'll still have that simulated "piezo sound" available to you. -You'll still be able to use your favorite wireless system.

CONS: -Sounds synthetic on its own. The Boss AC-3 needs help from the compressor and EQ pedal to make it sound closer to an analog piezo pickup. -You won't be able to change sounds as fast enough as having a toggle switch on your guitar. Because you'll be relying on an ABY splitter box to do the switching, you'll spend a bit more time to change from a high-gain tone to the blended acoustic/electric tone. -A bit more difficult to make it work well in the context of a full audio mix.

PIEZO PICKUP ROUTE PROS: -Sounds natural on its own. You don't need to use an EQ pedal to make it sound awesome. -Quick changes during live performances. You can switch from your magnetic pickups to a piezo pickup with the flick of a toggle switch. -Easier to make it work well in the context of a full mix.

CONS: -Intrusive setup, not cross-compatible across all electric guitars. You'll be limited to a very specific set of guitars that you can even do mods with in the first place, and if you don't like the setup, you can't go back. -Not cost-effective. -You'll need to say bye-bye to your favorite wireless system, 'cause the piezo pickup will transform your guitar from a mono-out guitar into a stereo-out guitar, rendering most of your wireless systems unusable (unless you're willing to shell out $7000 for a Shure Axient wireless, but who wants to waste THAT amount of money for a wireless system?)

So, given the choice, which route would YOU guys prefer? Boss AC-3 and Radial ABY splitter box, or a piezo pickup?

GEAR:
  • Synergy Amps SYN2 Rackmount Preamp
  • ISP Technologies Decimator ProRack G Noise Reduction System
  • Ibanez Prestige RG652FX

I would choose to go with the Boss AC-3 and Radial ABY splitter box. I wouldn't want to mess with one of my guitars and not be able to go back. It probably wouldn't mess up your tonal properties too much, but you never know. I would hate to have something happen or, if it doesn't come out right and then you have to keep spending more money or time. It seems like an expensive and risky operation.

GEAR:
  • Reverend Warhawk DAW
  • Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar
  • fender double fat strat hardtail candy apple red

Yeah, I have to agree. I mean, I can understand where guitarists like John Petrucci and Alex Lifeson are coming from, they need the authentic piezo sound for the tones they're going for. For them, they know the compromises they have to make so I can understand their point of view.

GEAR:
  • Synergy Amps SYN2 Rackmount Preamp
  • ISP Technologies Decimator ProRack G Noise Reduction System
  • Ibanez Prestige RG652FX

Radial ABY all the way

GEAR:
  • Gibson Custom Shop '63 Les Paul SG Reissue with Maestro Vibrola
  • Lovepedal Les Lius
  • Fender Pro Junior IV